NGOCC executive director Engwase Mwale says the “considerable progress” that government is claiming to have made in the 40 per cent land ownership for women is still paltry.

Last Friday, President Edgar Lungu told Parliament during his address on the application of national values that government had made steady progress in the 40 per cent land allocation to women as evidenced by the 3,010 certificates of title that had been processed for women in 2018 alone.

“Government has continued with the deliberate policy to allocate 40 per cent of available land to women, whilst the remaining 60 per cent is competed for by both men and women. For instance, in 2018, 3,010 certificates were processed for women compared to 7,063 for men in an effort to reach the 40 per cent target. This, Mr Speaker, clearly demonstrates that we are making considerable progress towards empowering our women,” President Lungu said.

But in an interview, Mwale said this achievement was paltry, adding that the country needed to strive to attain an equal ownership of land for both men and women.

“This is still paltry. We must be striving to attain 50-50, already this just goes to confirm that women still remain marginalised from land ownership. And what that means is that women do not have access to a critical means of production. A recent study by NGOCC and other partners in three countries shows that women remain discriminated from owning both statutory and customary land,” Mwale said.

“The equal ownership of land for men and women should not be a benevolent gesture by those in power. Our laws should clearly stipulate on the need for equal ownership of land for both men and women. Because of the entrenched patriarchy, women have over the years been discriminated from owning land. The study undertaken by NGOCC showed that in most customary settings, very few women own land in their own right,” she narrated.

And Mwale observed that the 40 per cent land ownership for women had not helped much as it had been ignored by most land agencies and councils.

She, therefore, called for an urgent legal framework to help in actualising the policy.

“The 40 per cent policy pronouncement has not helped much as it is ignored by most land agencies, the councils. NGOCC urges for a clear legal framework that will promote the ownership of land for both men and women. Land is a critical empowerment tool that can uplift the lives of women not only in rural areas. Apart from using the land for productive purposes like agriculture, it can be used as collateral by women to access productive ventures. Therefore, NGOCC calls upon the government to put in place a legal framework that will promote equal ownership by both men and women,” said Mwale.